Tag Archives: United States

Revenge of the Drones: target drone hits side of a Navy’s guided missile cruiser

On Nov. 16, a Northrop Grumman BQM-74 target drone hit guided missile cruiser USS Chancellorsville (CG-62) punching a three to four foot hone in the side of the warship.

The mishap occurred at 01.25 local time during a “tracking exercise during an air tracking event,” resulting in “minor injuries to two sailors,” according to Navy officials.

The target drone hit the side of the warship, near the ship’s Command Information Center (CIC), where the control room for the Aegis radar system is located; the ship was conducting Combat System Ship Qualification Trials (CSSQT) to assess the onboard Aegis combat system.

During the test, the operator of the BQM-74 that simulated an enemy aircraft or missile, lost control of the drone that eventually punctured the ship without any of the onboard self-defense systems could be activated to shoot it down.

Image credit: NBC 7 San Diego/USNI

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Former US adversaries to buy Russian attack choppers…with US consent

According to the last year’s contract Iraq is to buy 10 Mi-28NE Night Hunter (NATO codename: Havoc) along with armament and equipment, defence24.pl reports.

It is the first delivery of choppers, being a part of a bundle of contracts between Iraq and Russia. The aggregate value is claimed to be of around $4.3 billion – it is indeed quite a lot.

Image Credit: blog.naver.com

The Iraq’s Mi-28NE, being an export derivative of Mi-28N, are to increase the defense capabilities of the country significantly.

The equipment of the helicopter is pretty much the same as of the version used by the Russian Air Force and it includes: thermal imaging system, night vision system, Almaz-280 radar with a range of 10km. The radar is capable of detecting both ground and aerial targets.

Another peculiar feature of the Havoc is an integrated fly-by-wire system, capable of flying at low levels in an automated mode.

The armament is a 30mm cannon and several models of missiles, including Ataka anti-tank guided missiles as well as (quite unusual for an attack helicopter) air-to-air Igla-W and R-60 AAMs.

Not only does the Rosoboronexport offer include 10 helicopters, but it also contains pilots and ground crew training, supply of spare parts and armaments. It is the first contract of the two-party agreement.

Iraqi now being a democratic country, guided by the US may afford such expensive contract. As capt. Saad Al Khadfaji said in his interview for Arabian Aerospace: ‘We are a rich country. Our budget was $110 billion last year, and it will increase this year, so money is not a big issue’.

In the light of the above, $4.3 billion purchase of the Russian helicopters is just a tiny bit of the huge amount of money Iraq has at its disposal, probably thanks to the crude oil still being a valuable asset in the international market.

Iraq is not the sole former US adversary that buys military equipment from (another) former US enemy (Russia). Afghanistan also is to buy Mi-17V5’s until end of this year. A tripartite agreement between US, Afghanistan and Russia is a basis for this decision.

Image Credit: helicopter-database.de

Rosoboronexport was to deliver 21 helicopters, with prospects of delivering another 12 pieces for the Afghan Armed Forces. The value of the Afghan contract, which is paid by Pentagon (sic!) is to be of $900 million.

This contract has been harshly critizized in the US, as it avoids the prohibition of armament purchases from Rosoboronexport. The prohibition was implemented by the US congress.

Jacek Siminski for TheAviationist

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Marines MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft lands aboard Japanese ship – Washington’s PR campaign?

On Jun. 14, a U.S. Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey made a landing aboard a Japanese ship near U.S. West Coast.

The Osprey landed on a Japanese heli-carrier-destroyer Hyūga, during a 18-day exercise.

Taking into the consideration the unfavourable opinion of the Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft in Japan, stemming from the crashes involving CV-22s in Florida and Morocco this is an important step forward, possibly a part of a Public Relations campaign aimed at advertising the Osprey as a safe aircraft.

A campaign that has achieved some important results, at least domestically, as Boeing has recently been awarded a $6.5 Billion Order for 99 more Ospreys: 92 MV-22s and 7 CV-22s.

The PR campaign carried out since last year included showing off  M/CV-22’s capabilities in many combat scenarios (and airshows).

It was after additional warranties were given that Japanese government accepted the fact that 12 Ospreys are to be stationed in Okinawa.

Deploying the Ospreys to Okinawa resulted in a large social protest in that region, as people were afraid one of the planes might crash in some of the densely populated areas over there.

Image credit: US Navy

Jacek Siminski for TheAviationist

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Although it’s hard to believe these images depict Soviet maritime patrol aircraft flying in U.S. Navy markings

The following images were brought to my attention by writer Miguel Vargas-Caba.

Author of “Bear: Flight to Liberty”, during research for his novels, Miguel has acquired an extensive collection of Soviet and Russian articles, videos, documentaries, books, hundreds of photos, etc., illustrating the Soviet Armed Forces during the Cold War, as well as the Russian Armed Forces of today.

Among the material he has collected, there are the following images (probably stills taken from a video) depicting a real Il-38 of the Soviet Naval Aviation painted with US insignias for a Soviet movie called “Incident at Square 36-80” made in 1982 by Mosfilm.

Mystery Airplane of the US Navy - 1 BW

“The movie was about “an American nuclear sub” that got in troubles and threatens to blow up and contaminate the ocean. Before the sub sank, the Soviet Navy comes to the rescue of the unfortunate, stranded American sailors, and saves the day.

Mystery Airplane of the US Navy - 2 BW

A nice, if somewhat prophetic movie, although on the wrong side. In October 1986 Soviet submarine K-219 (seen in the movie “The Widow Maker” with Harrison Ford) had an accident onboard, when one of its torpedos blew up, causing it to sink. One happened in fiction, the other, for real.

Mystery Airplane of the US Navy - 3 BW

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UK flying its MQ-9 Reaper UAVs from RAF Waddington as well as from Creech AFB, Nevada

British media outlets are reporting that the Royal Air Force is now flying its MQ-9 Reaper drones from Lincolnshire as well as from Creech Air Force Base, Nevada.

The Guardian has reported that the crews based at RAF Waddington are working in tandem with their colleagues in the U.S. providing round the clock operations in Afghanistan due to the time difference between the UK and US.

No 13 Squadron stood up at Waddington at the end of October to operate the MQ-9 Reaper alongside 39 Squadron based at Creech Air Force Base, Nevada.

The Sky News website quotes the British MoD as saying “XIII Sqn have commenced supporting ISAF and Afghan ground troops in Afghanistan with armed intelligence and surveillance missions, which are remotely piloted from RAF Waddington.”

The Guardian quoted a source as saying “We aren’t flying any more operations than we were before, but with the time differences between the US, Afghanistan and the UK, it is now possible for pilots at Waddington to work in relay with the those in the US.”

It is thought that the RAF has three control stations at its drone ‘hub’ at Waddington and these have gone through a very tough testing process to make sure these new stations are fit for purpose.

Richard Clements for TheAviationist.com

Image credit: U.S. Air Force

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